Mastectomy is surgery to remove the breast. The most commonly done mastectomies are called simple and modified radical. During these procedures, the chest muscle is not removed. As a result, arm strength remains. Keeping the chest muscle also makes reconstruction easier.
During a simple mastectomy, the breast tissue (lobules, ducts, and fatty tissue) and a strip of skin containing the nipple are removed. This surgery most often requires a hospital stay. Based on the results of surgery and follow-up tests, further treatment may be needed.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
This type of mastectomy is usually done to treat invasive cancer. During the mastectomy, the breast tissue and a strip of skin with the nipple is removed. A sentinel node biopsy (SN) is often done at the time of surgery. This is done to check if the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes. If the SN is negative at the time of the surgery, the procedure is completed without performing axillary lymph node dissection (removal of lymph nodes in the underarm area). If it is clearly positive, then axillary lymph node dissection is performed. Sometimes a surgical drain is placed to keep fluid from building up. This drain is removed 3–4 days after surgery but may remain longer. Removal is based on amount of drainage per 24 hours. Modified radical mastectomy almost always requires a hospital stay. Based on the results of the surgery and follow-up tests, further treatment may also be needed.
Risks and Complications of Mastectomy
Pain or numbness under the arm
Bleeding or infection
Stiffness of the shoulder
Fluid collection (seroma)
Long-term swelling of the arm (lymphedema)
Author: StayWell Custom Communications
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